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Western Australian philanthropist awarded honorary doctorate

Media release

Curtin University has honoured philanthropist Tonya McCusker for her distinguished service to the University and the broader community.

Mrs McCusker was awarded an Honorary Doctor of the University at a graduation ceremony at Curtin’s Bentley Campus.

Curtin University Vice-Chancellor Professor Deborah Terry said Tonya McCusker has played a key role in helping to promote and build a culture of philanthropy in Western Australia.

“She has made a significant contribution to Curtin University, particularly through the establishment of the McCusker Centre for Action on Alcohol and Youth,” Professor Terry said.

The Centre, which is located at Curtin’s Shenton Park Campus, is a research and advocacy initiative with a focus on reducing alcohol related harm in young people.

Following a successful early career in ballet, both internationally and with the Australian Ballet Company, Mrs McCusker completed a law degree and a Graduate Diploma in Management and went onto hold various business development roles. She is now recognised as one of the State’s most effective and dynamic advocates for positive community change and philanthropy.

“Through patronage and support for a wide range of community organisations, as well as the work of the McCusker Charitable Foundation, she has helped to establish and support programs where there is a pressing need and the opportunity to make a real and lasting difference,” Professor Terry said.

Mrs McCusker is patron of 23 organisations and joint patron of 27, and works closely with more than 100 community groups in a wide range of health; social; education and arts initiatives in WA.

Through Giving West, she pioneered ‘Kids Who Give’, a program to encourage and nurture the social conscience of young people. She also helped to establish ‘Impact 100’, an initiative that has seen 100 philanthropists each contribute to a community program of their choice.

Notes to Editor:

  • Image of Mrs McCusker receiving her honorary doctorate is available on request.